Virat Kohli has been named as the winner of the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy at the 2017 ICC Awards for his exceptional performances across all formats, succeeding his teammate Ravichandran Ashwin.
In the qualification period from 21 September 2016 to the end of 2017, India’s captain scored 2,203 Test runs at an average of 77.80 including eight centuries, 1,818 ODI runs at 82.63 including seven centuries, and 299 T20I runs at a strike rate of 153. He also captained his country with distinction, with India flying high at the top of the ICC Test rankings.
It was Kohli’s second gong at the 2017 ICC Awards, with the 29-year-old also being named the ODI Player of the Year.
“It means a lot to win to win the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for becoming the ICC Cricketer of the Year 2017 and also the ICC ODI Player of the Year,” he said. “I won that back in 2012 also but it’s the first time winning the Garfield Sobers Trophy, and it’s a huge honour for me. It’s probably the biggest of all in world cricket and two Indians getting it back-to-back makes it more special.
“Last time it was Ash [Ravichandran Ashwin] and this time I’m getting it, so I’m really really honoured and I’d like to thank the ICC for recognising all the hard work that we all put in for our respective sides and I want to congratulate all the other winners also."
In July 2016, Kohli was yet to hit a Test double-century. In the period since he has hit six, taking his long format game to new heights. He has married his superb strokeplay with a determination to bat for long periods, with devastating results. Against Sri Lanka in November and December last year he hit 213 and 243 in consecutive matches. In 2018, he will no doubt have a maiden triple-century in his sights.
By hitting seven ODI centuries in the qualification period, Kohli took his career tally to 32, surpassing great names such as Ponting, Jayasuriya and Sangakkara. It is only a matter of time before he sits top of the tree.
It is fitting that Kohli is awarded a trophy named in honour of the great West Indian all-rounder Sir Garfield Sobers. Ahead of Sobers’ 80th birthday last year, Kohli paid tribute to the Barbadian with a special video message. “Your performances on the field will always remain iconic and you were one of the very few who have changed the way the game is played,” said Kohli.
The future stars of the game will look back on the achievements of Virat Kohli as similarly inspirational.